Zombies are the middle children of the otherworldly family. Vampires are the oldest brother who gets to have a room in the attic, all tripped out with a disco ball and shag carpet. Werewolves are the youngest, the babies, always getting pinched and told they're cute. With all that attention stolen away from the middle child zombie, no wonder she shuffles off grumbling, "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha."

- Kevin James Breaux

Sunday, May 10, 2015

"Rants & Ravings About Horror" - Week 18: “What Type of Monster Are You?”

Week 18: “What Type of Monster Are You?”

Last week I wrote about werewolf films which got me thinking about monsters and why we love them so much.  I don’t know about you but I love monster films.  Although my least favorite is the vampire, I enjoy watching a good vampire film and in fact, last year’s Only Lover’s Left Alive (2013) was at the top of my list for one of the best horror films of the year.  I absolutely love the Godzilla films (neither American version holds a candle to the Japanese films) and I’m a huge fan of Frankenstein’s monster.  I usually gravitate towards the misunderstood monster of which Frankenstein’s monster is top of the list followed by (of course) King Kong.  I also love zombie films but a zombie is at the bottom of the list of what monster I would want to be unless it was King Zombie from the Deadworld comics.  Being a zombie would be the least fun of all the monsters.

I want to take this week’s rant and go through some of my favorite monster s and why I would or wouldn’t want to be them.  As much as I would love to join the ranks of Frankenstein’s monster, I would hate always being chased by angry villagers and never having a Bride of my own (who would probably misunderstand me as well as everyone else).

Being immortal would be interesting but it could also be as boring an existence as Adam (Tom Hiddleston) in Only Lover’s Left Alive.  I would like to have an existence closer to the suave Jerry Dandridge from Fright Night (1985) rather than the blood thirty savages of 30 Days of Night (2007) or the forever teenage twinklers of the Twilight Saga.  I’d also hate to be a shut in like that of Count Orlock in Nosferatu (1922) but I think I would enjoy life on the road like the vampires in Near Dark (1987) and if I was stuck as a teen forever I guess I could handle being part of the gang of The Lost Boys (1987).  I would hate to be a relative of Dracula as him and his kin has too many enemies and a family feud with Van Helsing and his clan.  There are just as many good things about being a vampire as there is bad.

Being a zombie is pretty much out if you ask me.  There aren’t any cool zombies other than King Zombie and even the zombies in Warm Bodies (2013) wanted their humanity back.  No, life as a zombie is short lived especially in the world of The Walking Dead and I would hate to be someone’s pet like in Fido (2006) or Shaun of the Dead (2004).  I’m sure I’m more in the unlucky category and would slowly watch myself decay like in I, Zombie: The Chronicles of Pain (1998) or Contracted (2013) or Zombie Honeymoon (2004).  Being a zombie should be at the bottom of everyone’s list.

Being a giant monster also doesn’t leave you much room either.  Godzilla rarely had a moment’s peace even when he was exiled on Monster Island and King Kong couldn’t catch a break from anyone.  Being a giant mutated insect would seem cool at first but then the government would just come after you and annihilate you (and your family) like in Them! (1954) or Tarantula (1955) or Eight Legged Freaks (2002) but then again I’m sure I’d have lots of fun as a giant human like in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958) or Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992), but then we’re getting further and further away from horror and more into sci-fi and fantasy.

I would love to be a werewolf!  Not the whole cursed kind like in The Wolf Man (1941) or Cursed (2005) or even An American Werewolf in London (1981) but more in line with the those wolves with control over their transformations like in The Howling (1981) or the werewolves of Underworld (2003) and Dog Soldiers (2002).  I also wouldn’t mind the whole turning into a wolf kind of werewolf like in Wolf (1994) or Blood & Chocolate (2007) or Wolfen (1981); I think that would be cool as well.  There are just so many different ways in which being a wolf could be beneficial unless it comes at the time of puberty like in Teen Wolf (1985) or Ginger Snaps (2000) then I could see it being both a curse and a blessing.

The toxic or mutated monster isn’t something to joke around with.  Sure I think The Toxic Avenger (1984) is cool but then who would want to be a C.H.U.D. (1984)?  Would you want to be a toxic zombie/creature like in Nightmare City (1980) or a Septic Man (2013)?  How about something more akin to David Cronenberg’s The Fly (1986)?  Not really something to behold unless it’s in your genetic makeup like The Fly II (1989) or a science experiment mixed with nature like Swamp Thing (1982) but not to the extreme of Man-Thing (2005).  

This now brings us to the group of monsters which is just about everything else like those featured in Clive Barker’s Nightbreed (1990).  This is a menagerie of monsters of all types from all over the world who have gathered together as one big family.  You have immortals, shape-shifters, amalgamations of all types and even a few dead monsters and God-like deities mixed in and Berserkers.  Midian is where the monsters live whether it is within a hidden labyrinth under a graveyard or somewhere else.  This is a place where all monsters are equal and safe.

Now, this is a small sampling of the many monsters that inhabit our world of dreams and nightmares and I see all monsters great or small as equal (even King Kong and Godzilla).  After examining all the choices I would still stick with being a werewolf (or any were-creature for that matter).  Transforming into an animal, which represents our primal self, allows us to be closer to nature and be one with our true selves and having that ability is ultimately what we strive for in our daily lives.  The werewolf just gives us a more natural way of expressing it (as does I guess being a Swamp Thing).  Being a vampire may be more glamorous but who wants to live forever?

What type of monster are you?

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